StrictlyVC: April 15, 2014

Good morning! Hope readers are enjoying a happy Passover.

We’re going without a column today as StrictlyVC ran a teensy bit short on time yesterday. We have a lot of good stuff coming this week, though. (We’re particularly excited to sit down with one high-profile, low-flying firm that readers have specifically asked StrictlyVC to feature.) In the meantime, enjoy today’s issue and we’ll see you tomorrow!


Top News in the A.M.

You can buy Google Glass today.

Speaking of Google, it’s planning a major expansion in New York, the WSJ is reporting this a.m.

This morning, AngeList is also taking the wraps off Maiden Lane, a new, $25 million fund that will bet roughly $200,000 on the each of the site’s top investors and on select startups picked by them.


New Fundings

Betterment, a 5.5-year-old, New York-based online investment platform, has raised $32 million in Series C funding co-led by Citi VenturesGlobespan Capital Partners and Northwestern Mutual. Earlier investors Bessemer Venture PartnersMenlo Ventures, and Anthemis Group also participated in the funding, which brings Betterment’s total funding to $45 million, shows Crunchbase. (This space is really heating up, as you may have noticed. Betterment competes with Wealthfront, which announced a $35 million round earlier this month; others of its many competitors include Personal CapitalSigFig, and FutureAdvisor.)

Farmer’s Business Network, a new, Menlo Park, Ca.-based company, has raised $4.6 million from investors, according to an SEC filing that shows a $6 million target. The filing lists only Amol Deshpande, who joined Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as a partner in 2008 to focus primarily on greentech.

Genesis Media, a 2.5-year-old, New York-based video advertising platform, has raised $10 million in Series B funding led by Blue Chip Venture CompanyCrown Predator Holdings also participated in the funding.

Gusto, a nine-month-old, Indianapolis, In.-based company behind an email productivity app of the same name, has raised $1.3 million in funding led by Elevate Ventures.

Lifesum, a six-year-old, Stockholm, Sweden-based company whose health and fitness app helps users track the food and calories they consume, has raised $6.7 million in Series A funding led by the German multinational media company Bauer Media Group and SparkLabs Global Ventures.

Manicube, a two-year-old, New York-based tech-enabled startup that offers manicures and pedicures to office employees, has raised $5 million in funding from Bain Capital Ventures and F Cubed. The company has raised $5.85 million altogether.

Lamudi, a seven-month-old, Berlin-based real-estate classifieds platform that operates in 21 markets in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South America, has raised $7 million from a range of investors, including Tengelmann VenturesRocket Internet, the Berlin-based startup incubator, had created Lamudi last fall by consolidating multiple real-estate services, says TechCrunch.

Brigade Media, a San Francisco-based, still-stealth company, has raised $9.3 million from several high-profile investors, including investor-entrepreneur Sean Parker, investor Ron Conway, and Salesforce CEOMarc Benioff. Parker will also be taking over as chairman and CEO, at least on an interim basis, reports TechCrunch.

SeedInvest, a nearly two-year-old, New York-based equity crowdfunding platform that helps startups raise capital, has launched a new campaign to raise $3 million in Series A funding for itself. The startup has already raised $2 million toward its goal, including from Scout VenturesGreat Oaks Venture CapitalAvenue A VenturesArcher Gray and Krillion Ventures. Last year, SeedInvest raised $1 million in funding from the Jumpstart New Jersey Angel Network and individual investors.

SilverRail Technologies, a five-year-old, Woburn, Ma.-based company whose search and distribution platform aggregates global rail content into a unified system, standardizing the search, booking, and fulfillment processes, has raised $40 million in Series C funding led by Mithril Capital Management. Earlier investors Canaan PartnersSutter Hill Ventures and Brook Ventures also participated in the round, which brings SilverRail’s total funding to roughly $70 million, shows Crunchbase.

StarWind Software, an 11-year-old, Wakefield, Ma.-based maker of software-defined storage for Hyper-V environments (a virtualization platform for small-and mid-size businesses), has raised $3.25 million in Series B funding led by Almaz Capital, with participation from ABRT Venture, and AVentures Capital.

VanDyne SuperTurbo, a five-year-old, Loveland, Co.-based company that’s developing a next-generation engine efficiency technology, has raised a $15 million Series C round led by Northwater Capital, with participation by earlier, undisclosed investors in the company.


New Funds

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is looking to raise $450 million for its 16th early-stage fund (down from the $525 million fund it raised two years ago) and $750 million for its second “digital growth” fund, compared to its $1 billion predecessor. Dan Primack of Fortune has the story, along with some other interesting notes, including about numerous new staffers who’ve recently appeared on the site of KPCB.

Real Ventures, a six-year-old, Montreal-based seed-stage venture capital fund that focuses on Internet and mobile startups in Canada, has announced that it held its first closing of its third fund at $50 million and that it expects the fund to reach $100 million by its final closing. The lead investors in the new fund are Québec-based Teralys CapitalFIER Partenaires, and the Business Development Bank of Canada. One of Real Ventures’s newest investments is in Crew, a freelancer marketplace that connects Web developers with projects and that this month closed a$2.1 million round led by Atlas Venture. One of its best-known investments is in Beyond the Rack, a private online shopping club that has raised nearly $80 million from investors.

Tiger Global Management, the 13-year-old, New York-based investment firm, has a new $1.5 billion fund, according to an SEC filing. The fund comes as little surprise, given the pace at which Tiger has been deploying capital, leading or co-leading massive, double-digit rounds for Quora,ActifioonDeck CapitalEventbrite and Warby Parker — and that’s just since December.



Gnip, the six-year-old, San Francisco-based social data provider, which has long provided access to public Twitter data, is being acquired byTwitter for (as of this writing) undisclosed terms. Gnip has raised roughly $6.5 million from investors, including Foundry GroupSoftTechVC, and First Round Capital.

Maker Studios, the five-year-old, L.A.-based video production network that agreed to sell to Disney last month for $500 million in cash, and $950 million if Maker hits certain performance milestones, was offered an even sweeter financial deal yesterday by Relativity Media. Relativity proposed spending $525 million in cash for Maker and another $500 million in cash and stock if financial targets were met. It also threw in a kicker of up to $75 million in stock atop everything in a bonus pool for “key talent and executives.” Maker quickly said “no thanks” to Relativity. But a company to keep an eye on, says Re/code, is Fullscreen, a Maker competitor backed by Comcast and the Chernin Group.

Motorola is selling its tracking technology unit to publicly traded Zebra Technologies for $3.45 billion, Bloomberg is reporting this morning. Zebra plans to fund the deal with about $200 million of cash and $3.25 billion in new debt — almost Zebra’s total value, based on yesterday’s stock price. Both companies offer bar-code scanning, radio-frequency identification and other technology that companies can use to control their inventory.

Titan Aerospace, a two-year-old, New Mexico-based maker of high-altitude drones, has been acquired by Google for an undisclosed price. Facebook had been in talks to acquire Titan earlier this year but later said it would buy Ascenta, a U.K.-based aerospace company at work on solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicles. The WSJ has more here.



Investor, entrepreneur, and tweet champ Marc Andreessen has followed up his initial tweetsteam about new tech growth company valuations, with “current info on large cap tech valuations.” He tweeted last night (and we’re condensing his tweets here) that the P/E ratios of the biggest companies, including Apple, Google, and Microsoft are “still so low as to qualify as generational lows . . . ” Andreessen went on to tweet that “If this is a new tech bubble, it’s managing to bypass all of the big public tech companies,” and that “to rationalize all of this, you pretty much have to believe one of three things: A.) This is the weirdest equity bubble ever, ignores the large cap companies that are easy to trade — not what happened in late 90’s. B.) Public market still scarred after 2000 and 2008 crashes, hates tech equities, except a handful of companies delivering rare growth. C.) Or, many large-cap tech companies are in dire trouble, about to be taken apart by new generation of disruptive challengers.” In the end, Andreessen agreed with someone who proposed a fourth alternative: That’s we’re still in the early stages of an economic recovery. (Let’s hope!)

Former employees of Clinkle paint an unflattering picture of Lucas Duplan, the young founder of the mobile payments company, as well as Barry McCarthy, the former Netflix exec who was, for a brief time, the company’s chief operating officer. Business Insider has the story here.

“The Social Network” director David Fincher has reportedly been booted off the Steve Jobs biopic being scripted by Aaron Sorkin, owing to his “aggressive demands,” says the Hollywood Reporter. In addition to wanting Christian Bale to play the lead, the Reporter says Fincher had been “seeking a hefty $10 million up front in fees, as well as control over marketing.”

Alyssa Henry has joined the mobile payments company Square as its new engineering lead in charge of Square‘s infrastructure and payments platform. Former Facebook exec Gokul Rajaram will continue to run product engineering for Square. Henry most recently ran the data storage business for Amazon Web Services and logged a dozen years at Microsoft, reports Re/code.

President Obama will visit the Bay Area in May for two fundraisers, including at the Palo Alto home of Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and the Los Altos home of Ann Wojcicki, CEO of the biotech genetic testing firm 23andMereports the San Francisco Chronicle. Tickets for Wojcick’s event cost $32,400; tickets for the event at Mayer’s home will range from $1,000 to $10,000.

Chase Jarvis, the founder of the online education company CreativeLive, is newly its CEO, as Mike Salmi steps down after two years in the role. Salmi was previously a Viacom/MTV exec after selling his company Atom Entertainment for $200 million in 2006; on his watch, CreativeLive raised $30 million in two rounds of funding, grew to 85 employees from eight and opened a big studio in San Francisco, reports Re/code.

Ajai Sehgal has just joined Vancouver-based social media management platform HootSuite as its new chief technology officer. Sehgal spent the last couple of years at Groupon as a VP of product and technology and roughly the dozen years prior in senior technology roles at Expedia.

Y Combinator yesterday announced four new partners as part of a broader plan to grow fast and pull more startups into its accelerator program. Here’s Sam Altman, YC’s president, in a blog post about the appointments.


Job Listings

DFJ has just begun a search for a senior associate; the job is on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park.

451 Research is looking for a research associate to join its team in downtown San Francisco.



TechCrunch Disrupt is coming up in Manhattan May 5th through May 7th. Learn more here.



U.S. venture capital firms raised more money in the first quarter of this year than they have in seven years. According to new data out of the NVCA and Thomson Reuters, 58 venture funds gathered $8.9 billion in new commitments in the first three months of this year, more than the double to amount of capital raised in the first quarter of 2013. In fact, it was the strongest quarter for fundraising since the last quarter of 2007, when U.S. venture firms amassed $10.4 billion. You can learn more here.

According to a report from iStrategy Labs, more than 3 millions teens have left Facebook since 2007, while the 55-plus demographic has grown by more than 80 percent.


Essential Reads

Heartbleed disclosure timeline: Who knew what and when.



A Chrome extension that looks for the phrase “the cloud” in webpages and changes it to “my butt.” (Yes, we’re juvenile enough to think this is hilarious.)

Why we yawn.

Kafka’s joke book.


Retail Therapy


Hanley Mellon. Gawker aptly describes it as the perfect destination “for people who yearn to spend tens of thousands of dollars on clothes but have no one to tell them what to wear.” Still, we can look!


Convert your records straight to your iPad or iPhone with the iLP Digital Conversion Turntable.


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